District receives CLASS Project grant

The Corvallis School District has been awarded a $25,000 CLASS Project Design Grant from the Oregon Chalkboard Project to support teachers and expand professional development as they strive to become more effective educators.

Corvallis was one of five Oregon districts selected for the CLASS grant from a pool of 10 applicants. The other four award winners – Bethel, Dallas, David Douglas and Mt. Angel school districts – will share the balance of $115,000 in total funds awarded for the 2012-2013 school year.

This initial CLASS (Creative Leadership Achieves Student Success) design award will be used to enhance the district’s teacher and administrative performance evaluation tools and to focus professional development on increasing student learning.

“We are honored to work with Chalkboard and to collaborate with other CLASS Project districts,” said superintendent Erin Prince. “We look forward to enhancing our performance evaluation models, linking embedded professional growth directly to our emphasis on student growth, and to building strong leaders among all staff, while also expanding the career pathways and creative compensation models available to our staff.

“This truly is work that will be done by and for our teachers and staff, with the end goal being increased student growth,” Prince said.

The CLASS Project is based on research which indicates that classroom teachers influence student achievement more than any other school factor. It began with three districts in 2007 and now reaches into 23 of the state’s school districts. The grant program encourages school administrators and teachers to work together to develop new or improved strategies to address four major areas: expanded career paths for teachers, educator evaluation systems, targeted professional development programs and new compensation systems. Each district is to focus on all four components, but is free to design different programs tailored to the unique needs of its students and staff.

As part of the CLASS Project award, the Chalkboard Project also provides an equal amount of in-kind support in the form of technical assistance, coaching and expertise. Once the district completes its initial planning and design work, it can apply for additional funding to implement new programs.